An early morning call awoke part of the Downing family last Sunday. It was one of those calls that you don’t really want to receive. It was Granny (Timothy’s mother) and she spoke in a very worried tone. “I need to take Grandpa to the hospital you need to get here as soon as possible.” The reason we needed to get there as soon as possible was that all of our boys (2 years old, 3 years old, and 13 years old) were visiting their Grandparents. As well as our boys behave (cough, cough) and as good as our boys are (total loss of composure) Granny had no interest in taking them to the ER with Grandpa. In the bleak midwinter darkness Timothy fumbled around getting dressed and finding his keys, he paused briefly at the door, looked out over the snowy landscape and threw the snow shovel in the back seat. What followed is best told in Timothy’s own words.
I raced to my kids who were by this time left alone at Granny and Grandpa’s house. My eldest had been awakened and informed that he needed to watch the other two until I arrived. The car’s engine was racing and my mind was turning just as fast. What if my Dad was in real trouble? How will my Mom deal with this? How will my kids deal with this? How will I deal with this? What if my younger sons are awake and crying, will my eldest son act wisely and maturely? What if that police officer I just passed wants to catch a speeder this Sunday morning?
I shaved a significant amount of time off of the hour it usually takes to get to Mom and Dad’s house. When I arrived I found a quiet serine house with three children sleeping in a common bed. As I gazed into the innocent sleeping faces of my sons I could not help but contrast their serenity with my inward turmoil. Undercutting the peace I found in the house was the uncertainty of my Dad’s situation. At that moment I decided to shield my kids form the maelstrom of emotion I was experiencing. I made a quick breakfast for the kids and woke them up so that they could get ready for church. We kept the schedule that they were expecting, only instead of Granny and Grandpa’s laid back approach the kids would have to deal with Daddy’s fast paced manner. We arrived at church in time for Sunday School, then we enjoyed worship.
After church we hurried back to Mom and Dad’s house just in time to meet them in the driveway. Of all the possible outcomes of Dad’s health scare the actual diagnosis was the best possible diagnosis. Nothing life threatening, just something uncomfortable and inconvenient.
Latter that day I decided to load up some fire wood before driving my kids home. I could not load much because I brought the family car. What happened next happened fast, almost like a slap-stick comedy. I slipped in the snow and busted my knees on the way to the car. Then I drove the car off of the driveway and into a tree. That was right before spraining my back by picking up too much firewood at once, crushing my fingers in the car door and cracking my head after falling down during my attempt to dig the car out of the snow bank that I had managed to lodge it in. All of this happened shortly before the excitement of a “controlled” slide down my parents steep snow covered driveway.
Then it began to rain (apparently the front end of a winter ice storm). As I drove home with all of the early morning drama and late afternoon slap-stick in my rear view mirror I noticed something else in my mirror…red and blue lights. Thankfully I received no ticked, just a friendly reminder to slow down on the icy roads.
The day defiantly took me to the depths of emotional uncertainty and irritation but over all it was a very good day. It was a good day because at the height of my concern (dare I say worry) over my father’s condition I heard my friend Rev. Wesley Duff give a sermon the helped me put my concern into perspective and eliminate my worry. It was a good day because even during the slap-stick phase of the day or the red and blue lights portion of the day the words of worship spoken by Rev. Dan Schaub echoed in my mind and the morning’s songs of worship provided for me the soundtrack that overcame the rest of the day.
It has always amazed me how a good dose of worship cures the ills of the day.
Of course, as uplifting, meaningful and healing as a worship service can be there is a different approach to the practice of worship that develops a particularly Christ-like demeanor. When we view our work and play as an act of worship we establish a lifestyle of worship which adds a deep sense of purpose to our life. Now even mundane tasks become infused with meaning because they are and act of worship. It is this kind of worship that we hope to instill in the lives of our kids.
May your worship shine before all people everywhere!
In His Grip,
Bonus missionary exercise: Our first year on the mission field will be spent at a language school geared to missionary families in Coasta Rica. There we will learn how to assimilate into a Latin American culture, and we will intensively study Spanish. We will have a radical change in our lifestyle, for the first time we will have no car and space at our apartment will be very limited. We have told the kids that each of them will need to fit everything necessary for life in one suitcase. Here is the exercise, look through your house, find what you think is necessary to live in Coasta Rica for a year. Now try to fit it all in one suitcase. Can you do it? Our kids can!